Monthly Archives: October 2014

Wisconsin Jobs Now and the Minimum Wage – Or… not

Full disclosure: I voted for Governor Scott Walker in 2010, because of what he said he would do. I did not vote at all in the 2012 recall election because I do not believe in the concept of recall elections. However, I will not be voting for Scott Walker in the 2014 election because he did not do what he said he would do, and he did many things of which I do not approve that he did not say he would do. On top of all of that, my position on the minimum wage is public knowledge. I want the minimum wage to not only be hiked, but to be raised up to match inflation. I am an independent that votes on the issues that are important for me, and no political party has my sympathy. I just want the truth.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about recent events.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is now being sued by a group called Wisconsin Jobs Now. Wisconsin Jobs Now is a “shadowy” organization that only registered a website roughly a month after Scott Walker got into office (February 2011, and they registered with an “anonymous” domain registration service called Domains By Proxy. What are they trying to hide? Luckily, the internet never forgets, so let’s take a spin in the Wayback machine to see their very first website. Surely, since their primary topic and thrust is “fighting income inequality from the bottom up and building stronger communities throughout Wisconsin”, their initial website must show that they don’t care about politics, they want to help the little man, they want to focus specifically on the issue of the minimum wage itself and building things, right?

WJN

Wait, it’s an anti-Koch brothers political petition site? What happened to the minimum wage? What happened to building communities? Hey, I hate the Koch brothers as much as the next non-rich person does, but if your focus is on the minimum wage itself, so much so that you sued the governor of a state to try to get it raised, why would your first site be about a couple of ugly business dudes?

Okay, let’s give them a mulligan on this one and say it was just a one time thing. Surely their next big story will be about the minimum wage, right? Let’s try later in the same year. Wait… tax breaks and budget cuts… that’s not the minimum wage.

Okay, maybe it took them a year to get their focus on the minimum wage that’s so important to them now. Let’s try them in 2012! Unemployment… right to work? Those are important things to talk about, but what about the minimum wage?

Let’s go forward another year, 2013 after the recall elections. Since they can’t do any politics again until the 2014 elections, now they are going to get down to the nitty gritty and take care of that minimum wage, right? Fiscal cliff? No budget cuts? Why does this organization care about that stuff? I thought their focus was on the minimum wage and building communities? Why does it seem that every page that I find from this website is just going after Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans’ actions?

Why is it that a site that has been around since February 2011 (again, shortly after Walker took office), has said virtually NOTHING about the minimum wage until after the recall election? They’ve had THREE YEARS of being online to start petitioning to raise the minimum wage, why have they done nothing about it until the next election cycle got moving?

Oh wait, I think I just answered my own question.

 

A few other “odd” irregularities. As you can see in the link I had provided, the website was registered in February of 2011, but somehow their Terms of Use and Privacy Policy are dated from December 5, 2010. Why would you need a privacy policy dated before a website is even started? Furthermore, if you already had the privacy policy in 2010, why was it not posted on your first webpage in early 2011?

I know, you must have just nabbed that privacy policy from some other website. Let’s take a look and see what happens when I take a random paragraph from the middle of it and Google that privacy policy. What are the first few results? Huh, the Service Employees International Union, the SEIU branch of PA, and the BlueGreen Alliance. That’s…. interesting.

And you still say you’re non-partisan? I’m not buying it. You say that you care about building communities and raising the minimum wage? From all the evidence I’ve seen, you hide behind a domain registrar and take pot shots at your political opponents a week before an election. You are not a non-partisan part of the solution, Wisconsin Jobs Now. You are a part of the problem.

I’m not a liberal, I’m not a conservative. I’m an independent voter, and I don’t like to be manipulated. Shame on you.

 

On Privacy

Everyone has an idea of what privacy is, though the specifics may vary from person to person.

I’d recommend everyone read up on this subject in Wikipedia before continuing.

The question I present to you today is – why privacy? Why do I post under a screen name rather than my full name? Why was The Fappening such a huge deal? What’s the point of HIPAA?

Privacy IS secrecy. Privacy IS hiding an aspect of yourself or your life from others. So why do we do it?

I posit that privacy exists for two primary reasons – fear, and shame.

People hold parts of themselves secret from society, because they are afraid to live a completely transparent life. They fear what people may do or say about them if these hidden items came to light. I hide behind a username because I fear that others out there may wish me harm if they disagreed with my positions. Some hide infidelities out of fear of their significant other’s response. People fear the NSA and other government spying due to fear about how the government may potentially misuse that information in conjunction with their great power to harm them. I suspect that many of the targets of The Fappening fear negative impacts on their careers.

People also hide aspects of themselves because they are ashamed of those facets, they are not happy with those parts of themselves for one reason or another, and so they hide that which is shameful to them, or that which they fear would cause them shame in society. I certainly do this, there are things which I have only told to my wife and no one else, because I would feel shame if they were made public. Some of the targets of The Fappening may feel ashamed of aspects of their body for some reason, and so the release of their private pictures multiplies their shame. Some families have vicious criminals, killers, that they never talk about because of the shame that it brings to their families.

Why, ultimately, do we have this fear and shame? Because we fear that others will not understand and accept us for who we are, the full and complete package. We fear The Other, we distrust The Other, and The Other doesn’t care about or understand us. This is the root cause at the need for privacy.

However, on the other side of the coin, we have people exposing previously private things and becoming heroes for it. Edward Snowden and many other whistleblowers are considered heroes for their releases of private information. Rape and abuse victims are also considered heroes when they share their stories with the world and expose their hardships to all. The Twitterers and others reporting the abuse of the Ferguson PD was crucial to understanding what was happening there. There is a movement called Topfreedom who’s goal is to make women’s chests as de-sexualized as men’s to give women the right to go topless in public.

So we know that sometimes, privacy must be compromised for the greater good, and to help build a better society.

You can see that we have a struggle within our society between privacy and openness. I see this as a slow progression. We are currently the most open society that there has ever been, and we are continually becoming more open.

People like Emily Ratajkowski flaunt their nude bodies on music videos. The newest generation of young people have few qualms about sharing their entire lives on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I, being of a slightly older generation, don’t feel comfortable with doing that. Though having thought about it, I now understand it.

I see this as a good thing, but it is not without its problems and conflicts.

The older a person is, more likely the more they will value their privacy. This will cause conflicts with younger people and young society. I believe, however, that this conflict is necessary for the evolution of society.

To move forward as a society towards a more transparent tomorrow, I believe that we must encourage ourselves and others to be more open and honest with each other. To share our hopes, our dreams, our desires. This sharing must come willingly, and not by force. That is the lesson of The Fappening, and the NSA spying controversies. The only exception to this need for consent is those that are in positions of power that abuse that power. For the good of society, harmful truths and secrets need to be extracted from those that wish to use those secrets to cause harm. But aside from that, the only way forward to a brighter tomorrow is for people to share themselves with each other.

I believe very strongly in the following quote from the book Ender’s Game: “I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves.”

That is what all this is about, understanding and love, and the lack thereof. The more that we keep things private, the less people will understand us, and the less they will have a chance to come to love us for who we are, flaws and all. Conversely, the more that we share ourselves with others, the more understanding and love we will ultimately receive.

This goes not just for the individual, but society as a whole. Imagine a future utopia where people are completely hope, honest, and transparent with each other and the rest of the world about themselves and their lives. A world where flaws aren’t shamed, but rather understood, and people can get the love and support they need to move beyond those flaws. A world where we don’t fear one another, because we truly know and understand one another.

Yes, it’s not going to happen in our lifetimes, but maybe someday. And we should work towards that goal as much as we can, because that sounds like a good ideal to strive for. As always, the young will lead the way to a brighter future.

So don’t deride or mock those young people that share their entire lives online. Do not take pleasure in the person that loses their job because of a party picture that their employer saw. Rather, shame and malign that employer that does NOT love, understand, and accept the full, well rounded, human being. Support the openness of the younger generation. Celebrate them, embrace them, admire them. They are the future, and they are showing us the way.

However, I am not young enough to take that next step. I am not ready to have that level of comfort with being open and honest with all people about myself. So thus, I sit, behind the screen, behind the false name.

Maybe someday, but not today.

Graves of the Children

My first and only attempt at an anime music video. Looking back, it’s not terrible, but there are definitely things that I would do differently today. Like not using the same flame shit over and over again.

Here is my original YouTube comment from 2009 when I uploaded it:

Uploaded on Dec 14, 2009

WARNING – SPOILERS in the video: Don’t watch this unless you’ve already seen Grave of the Fireflies or never intend to.

This video is a product of love and pain, all at the same time. The film is amazing, and I recommend it to anyone. It’s not a happy tale but it’s a POWERFUL story. It was extremely hard for me to go through this movie again to find the clips, even without the audio. But that just shows how powerful the film really is.

Just as powerful is the music of the band Savatage, a brilliant band that is sadly virtually unknown. If you like this video, I recommend buying their albums Dead Winter Dead (where this song is from) and The Wake of Magellan.

I just hope that my very first music video did justice to them both.